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George was PS up to Dec 11, 2000
On Friday, during the debate on the bill to extend the date for the vesting of a number of former post office properties in TTPost for a further five years, to 2017, I pointed out that the current Minister of Public Utilities, Emmanuel George, was the Permanent Secretary in that ministry during the period July 1999 to June 2000, when the vesting of these properties was required by law to take place.
I went further to state that as Permanent Secretary during the 1999-2000 period, George allowed the 12-month statutory period for the vesting of the properties to lapse in June 2000, thus making it impossible to complete the transfer of title of these post office properties from the State to TTPost and I asked him to explain what went wrong.
In his response, as reported in your newspaper, George claimed that he was not the PS of the Public Utilities Ministry in 2000 and thus avoided responding to my query. I have checked the records and George was in fact the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Public Utilities up to December 11, 2000, which was the date of the general election in 2000.
It was therefore quite wrong of George to say that he was not the Permanent Secretary in the ministry in 2000 and his avoidance of my question as to why he did not ensure that the post office properties were vested during the statutory period when he was the PS in Public Utilities is cause for concern and symptomatic of a wider problem with the PP Government, where, when put on the spot, ministers run, duck and hide, rather than simply dealing with the issues in a straightforward manner.
It is to be noted that since the vesting of properties has not yet been achieved, all of the former post office buildings are still owned by the State, and in that context George also did not explain the process whereby TTPost was authorised to demolish a historical post office building on Maraval Road in Newtown, which it did not own, and which should have been restored rather than demolished, and how TTPost has been authorised to collect rent from a private company for a parcel of state property that it does not own.
Colm Imbert, MP
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